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iOS 11: Best features, release date and how to download the public beta


Apple has unveiled the latest version of its phone and tablet operating system, iOS 11. Here are the best general and iPad-only features set to appear on iOS 11, plus how to download the iOS 11 public beta now it has been released.

iOS 11 Release Date: When does iOS 11 come out and can I download the beta?

Apple hasn't set a final release date for iOS 11, but expect to see it in the autumn just before the iPhone 8 is revealed.

In the meantime, the public beta of iOS 11 is now available following a series of developer previews, and while it's still going to be plenty glitchy, the worst issues should have been resolved.

Read on for our quick guide to downloading the iOS 11 public beta.

Related: iPad Pro 2 (10.5-inch)

How to download the iOS 11 public beta

Want to play around with iOS 11, now the more stable public beta has been released?

All you need to do is register at the Apple Beta Software Program website and log in with your Apple ID.

Then, select Enroll Your Device and you'll be asked to download a profile using your iOS device.

The next step is to head to Settings > General > Software Update and Install iOS 11 Public Beta.

Of course, it’s always wise to make an iTunes back up of the device first and not to run the beta on your primary iPhone or iPad.

Related: iPad Pro 10.5-inch vs 9.7-inch

iOS 11 Phones: Which iPads and iPhones will get iOS 11?

If your phone worked with iOS 10, it'll work with iOS 11. That's as far back as the iPhone 5S and the iPad mini 2.

Interestingly, iOS 11 will remove support for 32-bit apps and phones. So apps the are built with a 32-bit architecture will need to updated, this also means if you're still using the iPhone 5C future apps will not work.

Related: macOS High Sierra

iOS 11 Features: What's new?

1) Messages

Apple iOS 11 puts a bigger focus on apps and stickers, featuring a redesigned app picker, but the coolest update is iCloud syncing. The feature means messages will sync when you set up a new phone, and if you delete a saucy message on one device it’ll disappear everywhere.

2) Apple Pay

In iOS 11 you’ll be able to use Apple Pay to pay other people directly using a new app that sits in iMessage. Transferred money will go into a new Apple ‘Cash Card’.

3) Siri has a new voice

Apple has updated Siri voice search to be a lot more lifelike. Siri will now be able to translate your voice and speak out the response, which seems very cool. There is also deeper app integration that will let you ask Siri follow-up questions.

Finally, Siri now uses ‘on-device’ learning’, which means it’ll look inside your apps and offer up more tailored suggested actions.

Related: iMac Pro 2017 release date, specs and price


4) Camera and photos

Apple is doing some interesting things with the way it deals with photos in iOS 11. It moves to HEVC for video capture – the same standard Netflix uses for its 4K broadcasts – and this should help videos take up much less space on your device.

Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus can now take advantage of the HDR mode and OIS, meaning better exposure and colours in your shots. Both of these additions should make Portrait Mode much better in low-light conditions.

5) A redesigned Control Center

Control Center now has a huge focus on 3D Touch interactions for things like controlling your music and accessing shortcuts. It looks slightly odd, though, with the UI being built up of multiple varying sized bubbles.

We’ll have to spend more time with it to see if it really makes anything quicker, and we’re not sure yet whether or not you’ll be able to customise the options.

6) Swipe down for lock screen

You can now swipe down on the home screen to access the lock screen and the scroll further to see all your notifications.

7) Updates to Maps

Maps is still one of Apple’s least impressive apps, but there are a few updates here: Line guidance is coming to navigation and indoor maps for a certain number of airports is also in the works. A clever new ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode that understands when you’re driving and will block incoming distractions is also baked into iOS 11.

8) Apple Music

Improved a lot in iOS 10, Apple Music now features some social aspects and you can share your music with other users right from the app. You’ll also be able to see what your mates are listening with a new tile on the homepage.

9) New App Store

If you’ve ever used Apple Music, you’ll feel at home with the new App Store design in iOS 11. It has a similar UI, with big art, bolded text and more defined categories. Games and Apps have been split into two different sections, and in-app purchases have their own section so you can see what downloadable content is new.

App pages have a new look too, with a less busy UI and highlighted reviews. The homepage will also now highlight new apps on a daily basis, rather than every week.

10) Lots of smaller extras

The podcasts app has been given a new coat of paint, and you can now type to search in Siri rather than using your voice. Screen recording is now native and can be started with a button in the Control Center, while QR can finally be read within the camera app.

Related: WWDC 2017 highlights


Best iPad-only iOS 11 features

1) A bigger dock

You can now put as many apps as you want in the dock, and just like macOS it’ll pop up anywhere when you swipe up from the bottom. You can also drag an app out of the dock and flick it into split-screen mode.

2) New app switcher

iOS 11 on the iPad is very much influenced by macOS, and you can now swipe up on the display to access a new multitasking menu that’ll show you all the apps you currently have running.

3) Drag and drop

On iOS 11 you can drag images, text and URLs between apps in split-view. This lets you doing things like move text from Safari to a Word document.

Related: New iMac (2017) vs iMac Pro

iPad Pro 15

4) Files

Apple iOS 11 brings a much deeper file system to the OS via a new app called Files. Files can sync documents and pictures with third party apps, such as Dropbox and OneDrive, as well as Apple’s own iCloud.

Read our full guide to Apple Files to learn more.

5) Improved Notes

iOS 11 adds in a few neat looking Apple Pencil tricks. Tapping on the lock screen with the pencil tip takes you straight to Notes, and Markup lets you sign documents without any hassle. The Notes app also has a document scanner, which is another nice addition.

Have you tried out the iOS 11 beta yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Word Merchant

June 6, 2017, 8:21 am

Nice that Apple's iOS team finally remembered the iPad. I thought the demos looked slick.


June 6, 2017, 6:23 pm

I suspect you can't put "as many as you want" for apps in the dock. One YT video I saw the guy maxed out at 15. That's still great and a lot, not complaining. I'll put 10 of my most used apps down there and 4 folders of the rest and have a sweet clean home screen just like a desktop computer screen should be.


June 7, 2017, 12:56 pm



June 7, 2017, 7:27 pm

Now the iPad is just inches away from being the notebook replacement I wanted. I'm looking to replace my Macbook Pro for casual use so I can save the battery cycles on it to make it last longer.

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